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Call for Volunteers

Updated July 2013
Building the future on Mars:
Opportunities to participate as part of the Mars Desert Research Station Team
(A note to anyone who has contacted us about a position and has not heard from us in some time:  Please contact us again.  I apologize for this, but a number of names and emails have been lost.)
As the Mars Desert Research Station begins its second decade of analog studies in Utah, there are plenty of opportunities to participate other than as a crewmember.  If you would like to get involved in any capacity, or if any of the volunteer positions listed here interest you, please contact us.  We would be delighted to have you join us.  Remember, most of these volunteer opportunities rely on your virtual presence, so you can be part of the team no matter where you are in the world.   Unless otherwise specified, please contact Shannon Rupert at for further information or to volunteer.  
Mission Support volunteers are the backbone of the crew experience.  We support crewmembers from the application process through their rotation at MDRS and beyond.  
We are currently looking for the following Mission Support personnel:
CapCOM Coordinator:  Responsible for daily communication with crews at MDRS.  Schedules CapCOMS for daily COMMS windows and makes sure all crew reports and photos are disseminated.  Trains new CapCOMs.  Estimated time commitment 15 hours a week.  Can be split between two people if two are interested.  
CAPCOMS:  The daily link between crews and Mission Support teams.  In recent years, CapCOMs have usually worked one evening per week, but this is flexible. CapCOMs can be located anywhere in the world and work during the field season only.  Varied time commitment, depending on your schedule.
FLIGHT SURGEONS:  To be part of the flight surgeon team, you must be a medical doctor with relevant experience in emergency, extreme environmental, or remote/telemedicine.  Flight Surgeons are on call 24/7 to advise crews on medical issues that occur while they are at MDRS and usually work with several crews during the field season.  
ENGINEERING TEAM: Members work throughout the field season with Mission Support and should have served as crewmembers at either MDRS or FMARS, although this is not a requirement.  They are also central to refit/work party efforts.  
Engineering Team members should be available throughout the field season several evenings a week or can commit to work parties throughout the year.   We are also looking for a Hab Manager Trainee.  This person would work under the direction of the Hab Manager and would need to live within a day’s drive of MDRS in order join us onsite throughout the year.  They would also need to work with Mission Support on engineering/facilities issues during the field season.  This job has a large time commitment.   
Our next refit/work party will be held in late September/early October 2013.  Please contact us if you would like to join our efforts.
REMOTE SCIENCE TEAM (RST):  Like the Engineering Team, members of the Remote Science Team are mostly scientists who have served on crews at MDRS, FMARS and/or MARS-OZ. RST members work throughout the field season.
PROJECT SCIENTISTS: We welcome scientists who would like to propose a short or long term project at MDRS.  Examples of projects include short term projects that are conducted over the course of a single field season and long term projects conducted over several years. 
ASTRONOMY TEAM: We are looking for people who would like to contribute to our astronomy research and education/outreach at the new and updated Musk Observatory.
GREENHAB TEAM – The Fisher GreenHab (used for CLESS research in the past) has been converted into an operational greenhouse to be used for both crew crops and greenhouse research. 
The following volunteer opportunities are special projects:
EXTERNAL DIRECTOR FOR A FILM SCHOOL CREW:  We are looking for someone who would be interested in developing a two-week field school for film students.  There would be a one-week rotation for documentary film students and a second week for feature film students.  Both teams would collaborate with each other and outside mentors (TBD) to create a short film during their time at MDRS.  The external director could also be a member of the crew.  We would like to initiate this concept during the 2013-2014 field season if possible.
EDITOR, MDRS Mission Reports:  We are looking for an editor to head up a project writing short summaries of all past missions at MDRS.  This person will be responsible for organizing a team of volunteer writers and managing team assignments.  There is already a team of volunteers who would like to work on this project, but the position of editor must be filled first.  There is the potential for publication of this project.
WRITER, MDRS Mission Reports:  We are looking for writers to work on the above project.  Time/writing commitment is up to you.  
EDUCATION/OUTREACH: working with the MDRS teams and Mars Society’s Education Coordinator 
OPEN HOUSE DOCENTS:  We are looking for people to participate in our open house at the end of the field season (May 2014) 
INFORMATION TEAM The time commitment for these positions is flexible.  We are looking for the following team members: 
RESEARCH LIBRARIAN—An independent position for someone interested in keeping track of published work that was conducted at MDRS
WIKIPEDIAN—An independent position for someone interested in creating accurate and updated wiki articles about MDRS.
WEB RESEARCHER—An independent position for someone interested in periodically searching the Web to see what is being published about MDRS.  
And we are always looking for writers, artists and educators with unique ideas about how they can contribute to MDRS.   To get involved, please contact us.


Sol -5 : Go go gadget Martian Geologist!

The Mars Society’s Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS)

I just spent several hours doing research for a project that April and I hope to make sample collection and testing in isolation easier for geologists on Mars and the Moon. We are hoping to have a research proposal ready by the end of September for submission to the guys and gals running the Mars Society’s Mars Desert Research Station.

We would like to design a container for the collection of individual rock samples that is airtight which could be stored inside a habitation module. These containers could then be opened within isolation glove boxes to be prepared for testing in attached equipment all kept isolated, if necessary. The kicker is that the containers have to be easily transported in a quantity that makes it useful to Planetary field geologists, plus the desktop apparatus must be as light a possible and fit in a relativity small space.

The image of the Curiosity rover with its wheels removed comes to mind for the laboratory. I will have to double check to see if all the required instruments are on board. I would imagine they have been miniaturized to the max. Put her guts on a table with an isolation chamber and a storage area for samples under isolation and I think we have the idea.

Totally Focused. Todd

Song of the day goes to:

Sol -10 : Intelligence is complicated

I got a chance to meet David Brin at the Mars Society convention and he is one of those people you could listen to talk for hours bathed in his calm and metered speech. If you ever wanted to explore every side and depth of AI and the nature of intelligence, you should set aside and hour or so and sit in the warm glow of your laptop watching this video.

On other topics, I’m keeping my eye on a few organizations such as Mars One and Lift Port. These guys are all-stars and I wish them the most wonderful success. Check them out.

Bringing it back to David Brin, today he linked a great news feed called The Economy: Past, Present and Future. Its an amazing collection of articles i’m still going through.

Excitedly rushed. Todd.

Our time here grows short…

My June drill weekend is over. For those of you who dont know, I am a Navy reservist, which means I spend  a minimum of one weekend a month and two weekends a year supporting the US Navy. This year they are taking that and more. That is not fair for me to say, some of it I volunteered for. I came back from two weeks in Hawaii supporting Terminal Fury at the end of May, and that’s all I can say about that. I want to share with you how awesome it was, but as they say, I would have to kill you. 😉

On July 5th I jump on a plane, bound once more for the ol’ Sandwitch isles (see Hawaii), this time to support a massive operation called RIMPAC. I don’t think I will get as big of a leadership role in this exercise. Last time I got to run the night watch. This time I think ill just be another body. We’ll see. I’m going to be staying on Oahu all the way through to August 1st, so I am also hoping to get time to travel to the Big Island to check out the volcano and get my Geology on.

Arriving back in PHX doesn’t mean I get to slow down. Next morning I’m hopping in a car and pointing it at Pasadena, California to attend the 15th Annual Mars Society Convention. Buzz Aldrin is the head speaker along with the team lead on the Mars Science Laboratory which is landing in Gale Crater on the 5th of August around 10PM via a kick-ass interplanetary delivered skyhook. (The previous statement was brought to you by the MFing FUTURE!) Can you tell I’m siked! like this guy

After the convention I’ll be less than 45 days out till my deployment to Afghanistan. Things to be packed, parties to plan, paperwork to do by the ton. More on this in the future, including a new initiative to document the whole year long deployment for you people.

Finally, I want to close with, there is a former member of my family out there who is going through what must be the hardest part of her life right now. As a human being, I feel compassion toward her despite my understanding of how she got there. I want to tell her even if she wont listen, to know that life can get better and we’ll be here rooting her on from a distance as she finds her place in the world.

Good night people. Be Excellent to each other.